This month, two Southern California men who had been given life sentences for crimes committed as young teenagers were re-sentenced to six years in California’s Division of Juvenile Justice. Elijah Hall and Anthony Torres had their original sentences dismissed as a result of a new law, SB 1391, that prevents people under age 16 from being tried in adult courts. SB 1391 came into effect of January 1 of this year and is currently being challenged in the California Supreme Court.
Minors Sentenced as Adults
Hall and Torres were charged with crimes related to a series of armed robberies in 2015 when they were 14 and 15 years old. They were part of a group of five other people. Prosecutors alleged that the crimes were tied to a local gang. After the judge decided that their crimes warranted adult sentencing, they were convicted and given prison terms of 65 years to life.
Criminal Defense Attorney Services for Juvenile Crimes
There is a common misconception that juvenile crimes are low stakes. As Hall and Torres’ cases prove, this is far from the truth. Even under California’s new law, minors can be sentenced to juvenile detention until age 25 and can still be sentenced as adults if they are age 16 or older. Prosecutors often work to get the most severe sentence possible regardless of the age of the accused.